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DirecTV To Drop Russian Network RT America

The satellite TV company will no longer carry programming from Russia's state-controlled TV channel.

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DirecTV will stop carrying RT America's programming. 
Photo Illustration by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

DirecTV will no longer carry RT America's programming following Russia's attack on Ukraine, the satellite TV provider said Tuesday. RT is one of Russia's state-controlled international television networks.

DirecTV's move comes hours after Facebook, YouTube and other social networks announced plans to limit access to Russian state-controlled media outlets RT and Sputnik across Europe, amid calls to crack down on disinformation. 

"In line with our previous agreement with RT America, we are accelerating this year's contract expiration timeline and will no longer offer their programming effective immediately," DirecTV said in a statement. The decision was reported earlier by Axios.

After reviewing programmers in its lineup and assessing the value of RT America for DirecTV customers, the company had previously decided to terminate RT America's contract, a company spokesperson said. However, "we felt it necessary to move the timeline up from mid-year following the devastating recent events in Ukraine," the spokesperson said.

Also on Tuesday, the US-based National Association of Broadcasters issued a statement opposing the broadcasting of Russian-government sponsored programs.

"Given the unprovoked aggression exhibited by Russia against the free and sovereign people of Ukraine, NAB calls on broadcasters to cease carrying any state-sponsored programming with ties to the Russian government or its agents," the NAB said in a statement.

Following NAB's call, other TV providers might follow suit. Streaming company Roku is also removing RT from its channel stores in Europe, the company said Monday, according to a Deadline report

CNET contacted satellite TV provider Dish and Roku for comment and will update this story when we hear back.

As Russia's war on Ukraine escalates, the private sector has stepped up. US companies have become active players in the conflict as they provide aid to Ukrainians and place restrictions on Russian state media. Elon Musk's rocket company, SpaceX, activated satellite internet service in Ukraine through its Starlink system. And Google disabled a feature that displays Ukraine traffic conditions in its widely used Maps app, for example. 

RT and NAB didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.